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Western State Hospital Behavioral Health Facility

Lakewood, Washington

HOK is designing a new 350-bed behavioral health hospital on the campus of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash., a Tacoma suburb. The project is crucial to the State’s vision for redefining and enhancing behavioral healthcare. The facility, dedicated to forensic patients who enter care through the criminal court system, aims to augment and expand the capacity of the existing hospital. By primarily focusing on forensic patients, it will enable other campus areas to serve civil patients more effectively.

The design intertwines a holistic approach to rehabilitation with evidence-based healthcare practices. It emphasizes creating a therapeutic and safe environment, directly enhancing patient healing. It also supports the staff’s ability to provide high-quality care. Central to this approach is integrating the therapy model with a focus on transparency, biophilia and a holistic approach to treatment. This balance ensures patient and provider needs are met, particularly regarding safety and security.

The hospital will be seamlessly integrated with the natural topography of the expansive 216-acre campus. The emphasis is on leveraging nature’s healing power, with the buildings and landscape designed to maximize access to nature and daylight, improving overall programmatic function. Elevated walkways above courtyards connect patients and staff with nature, offering an immersive, serene experience as they move across the campus.

HOK’s design supports the healing, rehabilitation and care of forensic behavioral health patients in ways that challenge more traditional, institutional design solutions. The project aims to serve as a national model, showcasing the importance of investing in progressive mental and behavioral health services, programs and facilities for the best long-term outcomes for vulnerable populations.

Sustainability and energy efficiency are core to the design, and the team is aiming for net-zero energy and LEED Gold certification. The hospital’s non-institutional exterior features a modular lattice veil across the facade. This creates a woven appearance that balances with nearby buildings’ brick and painted steel facades. The rhythmic pattern enhances the building’s aesthetic appeal while helping to destigmatize mental healthcare.

The project is part of a master plan that includes several other facility improvements to the existing Western State Hospital campus. Construction is expected to be completed in 2027.

LEED Gold anticipated
521,000 sq. ft. / 48,400 sq. m.
350 beds
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